Under a Hoodoo Moon: The Life of the Night Tripper
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Under a Hoodoo Moon is one of rock's most original and infectious autobiographies. In its pages, Dr. John, the alchemist of New Orleans psychedelic funk, tells his story, and what a story it is: of four decades on the road, on the charts, in and out of trouble, but always steeped in the piano-based soulful grind of New Orleans rhythmn & blues of which he is the acknolwedged high guru. From childhood as a prodigal prodigy among 1950s legends from Little Richard and Fats Domino to sesssions with the Rolling Stones and the Band; from recording studio to juke joint to penitentiary to world tours; from Mac Rebennack to Dr. John the Night Tripper, this is the testament of our funkiest rock storyteller. Full of wit and wordplay, tales of hoodoo saints and high-living sinners, Under a Hoodoo Moon casts a spell as hard to resist as Mardi Gras itself.
account of my narcotics use. He contributed arrangements to the band, always writing great stuff. He had not only great taste, but an understanding of New Orleans music that ran deep. Trying to bring home the bacon, we kept gigging around town wherever we could. One of the places we used to play was a joint called Spec's Moulin Rouge, in Gretna. There'd be three bands there: the Kid Thomas Dixieland band, Clarence "Frogman" Henry's band, and us with Frankie Ford. I remember one week we played
borrowed the word. If something was "in the bag," it meant that money from a bet or gambling operation had been collected. Musicians borrowed this term to signify a musical bag or groove we were in. There were so many words like that, it blew me away. After our nine-to-midnight gig (for the turistas), things began to get a bit more interesting. From midnight to four, you had a different crowd, hip but not street characters. After four in the morning, you got the real low-down crowd, when the
hanging around his family, especially with his mother, I copped a lot of understanding about the gris-gris and the spiritual church. About the fourth or fifth time I met Mr. Lastie, he laid a piece of red cloth on me and wrote one of those spiritual sayings on it, followed by the initials MCS. I asked him what the MCS stood for, and he enlightened me right away: Mother Catherine Seals, probably the greatest reverend mother in New Orleans during this century. From Mr. Lastie I learned that
wasn't happening, Booker would come out with a solo that would just blow them off the stage and disgrace them. Booker wanted everything to peak and peak and keep peaking until we reached the stars. We never wanted it to peak and come down, like most bands do; we believed if we just took off and kept going up, at some point we would hit another galaxy, and that would be the end of the set. This made for a lot of two-hour sets. Usually, the club owner would tell us to play an hour and a half, but
thirty-four years of off-and-on-but mostly on-use of heroin, I began to get a handle on my addiction. I had never been in the narcotics game with any intention of quitting; my attitude had always been that I'd go into rehab periodically to cut down on the money I was spending on narcotics, but if the price of dope came down and the quality got better, I was off and running again. That happened again and again during my halfhearted rehab attempts: I straightened up for a while, but sooner or later